We entered the woodland car park and as I swung the car into a position I noticed a plum coloured 3 piece suite in the corner…not there the last time we walked here! I had chosen these woods as I hoped that the autumn colours would be good, lots of sweet chestnut trees which goes a strong yellow, I had even brought my camera.
I could hear the babble of voices and we soon came across a mother with two young children and a black dog walking along the path, and I think they had the same idea as me to look at the colours of the trees. I marched on a bit after that as I didn’t really want people watching me take photos, didn’t even really know what I was going to take photos of but we went ‘off piste’ into yellowy part of the woods with no paths but it seemed to attract the sun. So we explored that bit. I found myself wanting to take my photos out of focus! We moved on thorough the yellow bit and came out on a path.
We met a woman walking with her dog and I wondered if she was going to ask me about my camera as that I was still holding, it felt very showy as I had a long lens attached. But no this conversation started with Cosmo as it often does, “isn’t he lovely….is he a doodle of some kind”? Yes I said and so is yours? (Cosmo is big and yellow, hers was small and black) She said, “he’s a Cockerpoo” and then the conversation begins to steer towards her previous dog and I beginning to realise I have met this woman 2-3 times before in these woods and now I know I definitely have as I can see her watching my face all the time I am talking.
She is roughly my age probably a little younger but completely deaf and her dog is a working dog that is her ears. She is amazing you would never know that she can’t hear a word you say.
I steer the conversation away from dog cancer (which accounted for her previous dog) to the age of dogs and she tells me her newish dog is about 2 years old she asks me how old Cosmo is? “He’s over 8 years now and if I add that up at one year = 7 years he is at least 56″! She says that ratio does not work all through their life it is slower at the younger part of their lives! I said that me and Cosmo are sharing our middle age together….she replied, laughing ….”I’m an adolescent”.
Next I see a friend of mine walking along holding hands with a blonde woman who I immediately recognise as not his wife! He has not seen me yet and I think I might turn right around now, but no, I carry on as I know he will recognise Cosmo who is crossing their path. They point at him and he says to me “I thought I recognised Cosmo”. I don’t quite know what to say as while I visually check that this is not his wife, and use Cosmo as a diversion as I see him drinking in a muddy puddle.”He’ll lie down in that puddle now” I say, and on cue Cosmo eases himself down slowly and settles into the puddle and makes himself comfortable. She puts her hands over her mouth and says ” Oh No”. Cosmo stands up muddy tide mark all the way around his body and water gushing down onto the ground. My friend says “Is he getting in the back of your car like that? I said not quite, he will find a load of leaves to roll in get some of it off before we get back to the car. I think he likes to take the smell of the walk home with him, so he can relive it again through smell during the night in his dreams!
After that my phone beeps and a have an old friend who wants to connect on Linked In. Cosmo finds a happy family climbing on a fallen tree. The children make a fuss of him and the farther (who is wearing a strange hat) asks me if there is a clearing just ahead? I said, it depends what you mean by a clearing? I was struggling to think what he meant.
He said, “We just met an old lady on crutches who said there was a clearing very close, just along here..she was adamant it was there”!
I said, “Well if you walk 5 mins along this path there is a cross roads and the trees thin out a bit as the paths are quite wide”.
he said, ” do you mean cross paths”
I said , “Yes it is not a road, the road is way over there” and pointed. This was a strange conversation. Interpretations of what a clearing and a path are, laughing children, Man with a strange hat and old ladies on crutches in the middle of very muddy slippery woods full of deep puddles, it all starts getting a little weird.
And we are back in the car listening to Kate Bush “In the Trees its coming” from the Hounds of Love.